Trickle-down economics is a lie.
On December 20th, 2017, the Republican majority in Congress passed a disastrous giveaway to their ultra-rich campaign contributors. Republicans claim that this tax bill will cause more money to “trickle down” into the pockets of everyday Americans. This, of course, is not true. While the bill entails modest and temporary tax breaks for individuals, it presents a permanent golden platter of free money to corporations and the ultra-rich. These incentives to billionaires will add trillions to the deficit and throw Social Security and Medicare into jeopardy. It will also eventually make health insurance for millions–myself included–too expensive to afford.
Of course, the Republican excuse is that this will “create jobs” and lead to better pay for workers, but this clearly not the case. Profits for the ultra-rich have been at all-time highs for decades, whereas pay for everyday workers has stagnated and available jobs have dried up. As I like to say, the only “trickle-down” is Donald Trump’s golden shower. If the rich can get more money by installing politicians willing to give them anything, what reason will they have to invest in jobs? “Trickle-down” policies do nothing but make the rich even richer and inflate the deficit.
Paying Their Fair Share
Republicans like to bring up that America’s corporate tax rate has been “the highest in the world.” Effectively, this is not true because corporations access so many tax loopholes that few ever pay anywhere near what they technically should. Some of these loopholes include listing a private jet as a personal expense. In fact, too many corporations even receive money back from the government, getting a fat check every year straight from taxpayers. Does any of that fund new jobs? Of course not. Why should the government pay the rich for existing? Because they fund campaigns for anyone willing to give them more money. Meanwhile, the rest of us pay the price.
On that note, as far as I am concerned, any corporation stashing its money in foreign tax havens like Bermuda or Switzerland are not American. Corporations that pretend to be foreign for tax purposes should be foreign in all other ways and subject to none of the benefits included with being American. This includes being fully unable to make campaign contributions.
Overall, question is not about how much tax the rich should pay. Rather, it is about whether the rich should pay taxes at all (Yes). It is about whether the rich should receive free money from provided by the poor middle class (No). It is about whether the government should only protect the interests of billionaires (No).
Punishing Bad Actors
One of the worst consequences of Republican devotion to the wealthy is that those who willingly harm others rarely face consequences for their actions. President Trump himself is on record as committing molestation, considering his now-infamous “grab ’em by the pussy” statement.
Back in 2008, billionaire bankers ruined the American economy by exploiting the Bush administration’s lax rules. They treated the American people’s savings as poker chips at the Wall Street casino. Had these bets succeeded, Americans would have received nothing while the bankers became wealthier. When the bets failed, however, the government awarded the bankers with tremendous bailouts funded by taxpayers. Of course, no bankers went to prison, and they awarded themselves with millions in bonuses, giving nothing back to taxpayers.
While the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau set rules after the crisis to help prevent another from happening, President Trump has installed Mick Mulvaney as the bureau’s leader, who, like Trump’s other leadership picks, will stop at nothing to give billionaires more special rights to treat everyday Americans as walking ATMs with no consequences.
When the rich break the law, they should face consequences just everyone else. Jail time and heavy fines are more than reasonable for corporations that threaten the nation’s financial stability and exploit hardworking people for profit. The government must prevent dangerous and immoral decisions, not encourage them.
Perpetuating the trickle-down lie is the only reason why Republicans can justify keeping themselves in power. The truth is that the rich are not all-powerful gods who will rain jobs upon those who pay them tribute. Rather, they have merely found a way to make money without working for it like the rest of us.